California: Off-Duty EMT killed helping motorist praised for selflessness

Stacey Warriner was doing what she always did -- assisting someone in need. “I can’t even count how many times she made a stop on the side of the road to help people,” her husband, Vaughn Warriner, said Friday, Jan. 27.

Warriner, 44, was driving to her job as an EMT with the Morongo Public Safety, Tribal Security Department, assigned to the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, on Jan. 23 when she did just that, pulling over for a stranded motorist on the 10 Freeway.  This time, however, she was struck by a passing car.

She died from her injuries Wednesday, Jan. 25. Details of the crash are still unknown. Efforts to reach the California Highway Patrol regarding the incident have been unsuccessful.

“She was kind, loving, honest, faithful, smart, thoughtful, generous, strong both physically and mentally, soft and gentle,” Vaughn Warriner said. “She cared about people, genuinely cared.” An EMT for 18 years, Stacey Warriner joined the Morongo Department almost three years ago.

“As a professional EMT at Morongo, Stacey had a passion for helping others, so when she saw someone in need after a freeway crash, her first instinct was to help – that’s just who she was,” Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said in a statement. “Like all first responders, she put the well being of others before her own.”

Calling Warriner a trusted and respected member of the security/EMT team at Morongo, Martin said she saved the lives of several people during heart attacks and other medical emergencies.  “When she was on scene, you were in good hands,” he said. “Her passing has left our hearts heavy with grief.”

Vaughn and Stacey Warriner met in Tuolumne County in 1999 and were married about six months later.

They moved to San Jacinto with their two children in December 2004 after Vaughn, now a firefighter in Idyllwild, retired from the Army.

“She made me want to be a better man,” he added. “I saw how she touched the lives of people around her. I just wanted to be more like her every day.”

Warriner said he is overwhelmed with how much praise his wife is receiving from people who knew her.

“It warms my heart and makes me overwhelmed with joy,” he said. “That, to me, is a testament to what she was. She touched the soul of every person she came in contact with.”

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